I love words! Well, not literally, but I do enjoy perusing the dictionary looking for new and tasty words to use in my writing; words like ‘melodious’, which almost sing when you speak them. Or, better yet, words like ‘effusive,’ ‘loquacious,’ or ‘mellifluous’ because they pour out of the mouth like syrup. Words: they are the delightful tools writer’s use to feed their readers tasty trifles or succulent repasts.
Words create more than sentences; they create pictures in the mind of the reader meant to stir the imagination, and in some cases, stimulate the palate. What did the Psalmist really mean when he wrote:
“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Obviously, he was seeking to extol his love for God, and His Word, and he used figurative language involving his senses to convey his innermost feelings. To him, the Word was a sweet sensation; sweeter to his soul than honey to his lips.
Taste, one of our most delicate senses, enables us to distinguish the quality or flavor of a substance. Edibles are frequently classified as sweet, sour, salty, or bitter; the same is often said of people, places or things.
Many of the words and expressions we use in describing our thoughts and feelings about a particular person or substance are figurative because they help us communicate those thoughts and feelings to others in a way we hope will help them better understand us.
When King David wrote, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him,” he was communicating his love, admiration for, and devotion to God in words designed to invite others to experience God; to taste and see for themselves that his assertion was correct.
A taste is simply a small sample; to taste is to imbibe (another delicious word) enough of a substance to experience its flavor. It often doesn’t take much more than a taste of a substance to find out if it is sweet and pleasing to the palate, or sour, salty or bitter.
These four words used to communicate different taste sensations are frequently used to communicate our feelings about personalities and experiences as well. Kind and gentle people may be spoken of as ‘sweet’, while those who are disingenuous or phony we commonly classify as ‘saccharine’ to denote their unnatural or simulated sweetness.
A sour taste, not always unpleasant, evokes a much different connotation. Sourness relates to fermentation or decay, and under most circumstances refers to something distasteful. Sour individuals are those who have brooding, fretful or even hostile personalities.
Salt stimulates the palate and adds a spicy, flavorful taste to many foods. It also acts as a preservative—working to prevent decay. Is it any wonder than that people who are vigorous and witty are sometimes said to be salty? Or that Jesus called His people to be salt and light in order to preserve the world from decay? (Matthew 5:13)
Bitter flavors and smells can be sharp and pungent, sometimes stinging the senses. They bite, and their intensity is frequently unpleasant. Bitterness in people is just as unrelenting. Regardless of the cause, bitter people are marked by their unpleasant, acrimonious and caustic behavior.
Sweet, sour, salty and bitter are taste sensations most of us have enjoyed or endured at some point in our lives, one perhaps more than another. And while it isn’t always possible to avoid distasteful sensations or situations while on earth, the Word of God teaches us we can avoid the final distasteful sensation—the taste of death.
Jesus said that it was possible to avoid the taste of death. He didn’t mean that men wouldn’t die physically, but that they could avoid dying spiritually; experiencing the second death.
Jesus died so we could live; He paid the penalty for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to. And He said that those who would believe in Him would not perish (taste death), but that they would have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Our earthly lives will come to an end. And whether our demise is sweet, sour, salty or bitter will, in the end, depend on one thing: whether we tasted the goodness, mercy and grace of Almighty God.
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. KJV
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. KJV
25For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
26For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
27But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. KJV
52Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. KJV
1 Psalm 119:103 KJV
2 Psalm 34:8 KJV